BA (Hons) Music (Popular with Production)

Note: This course is found under the Undergraduate option when making a UCAS application NOT the Conservatoires option.

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Study BA Hons Music (Popular with Production) at Leeds Conservatoire

In 2005, we became the first UK conservatoire to deliver a specialist course in Popular Music, and we’re still pioneers. We champion original material and encourage you to take creative risks. As well as focusing on your performance skills, you’ll develop composition skills and enrich your commercial expertise with practical guidance.

In the Popular with Production programme, you will take specialist study modules (e.g. your 1:1 tuition) in Popular and specialist group study (e.g. ensembles) in Production.


  • Starts:
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • UCAS Course Code(s): 9Y5T (Popular with Production)
  • UCAS Institution Code: L30
  • Apply Via: UCAS Undergraduate
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

Course Overview


If you haven’t already, you’ll start your music career whilst you’re studying, and be ready to take it to the next step after graduation. In addition to one-to-one tuition and band work, you’ll access masterclasses from professional performers, songwriters, producers, managers and promoters, supporting your artistic development as well as sharpening your creative voice.

Industry links

Strong links with the music industry mean that we are in constant contact with major labels such as Universal, Polydor and Decca, as well as local labels like Hide and Seek and Leaf Label, and we regularly welcome them here for student showcases and discussions. Our industry relationships have also seen our students perform at Sound City, Live at Leeds, Eurosonic and on the BBC.

Artistic Identity

We champion original material, and encourage you to take creative risks. By the end of your popular music degree, you will be a specialist in your chosen discipline and will have established your individual artistic identity and voice as a musician, whilst possessing a breadth of understanding, knowledge and transferable skills that will support you throughout your future career.

Live music scene

Leeds has an incredible live music scene, and our students are performing in it every day of the week, from gigs at the legendary Brudenell Social Club and Belgrave Music Hall, to open mic nights at Oporto, Nation of Shopkeepers and a multitude of other venues. Our regular Friday night showcase, Crosswire, presents some of our best pop and production artists, and our students and alumni have taken the stage at major festivals, including Live at Leeds, Leeds Festival, Tramlines and SXSW.

Career destinations

Graduates from Popular degrees at Leeds Conservatoire have gone on to a wide variety of careers including Recording Artists, Award-winning Folk Artists, Session Musicians, and Producers. Find out more in our Alumni section.

“I launched myself as an artist in first year. I then recorded my debut EP, recorded sessions for BBC Introducing, played at Sound City Festival in Liverpool, supported artists on tour including Newton Faulkner and even had my own headline tour, and that was all in the first two years of studying at Leeds Conservatoire!” – Lauren Rycroft, Popular Music graduate

What You Will Study (See Modules and Specifications)

The BA (Hons) Music (Popular with Production) modules focus on developing you as a professional musician through one-to-one instrumental tuition (Popular), DAW study, and creative projects. In addition, the contextual studies strand of study will develop your awareness of the environments within which you create music, and the professional studies strand will develop your core business skills. Other optional modules will introduce additional cross-genre skills. See our module specifications page for detailed module specification documents.

Each year of the course is structured into three distinct strands:

  • Specialist Study – One-to-one tuition(Popular) and group study(Production) in performance
  • Contextual Studies – Develop your composition, musicology and critical listening skills
  • Professional Studies – Develop your skills for working in the creative industries

Some examples* of Contextual Studies and Professional Studies modules:

  • Working in the Creative Industries
  • Songwriting
  • Music for the Moving Image
  • Introduction to Music Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Self-Promotion and Music Marketing
  • Concerts and Touring
  • Working with Music in the Community
  • Instrumental Music Tuition
  • Music Journalism
  • Software Environments - Performance and Sound Creation
  • Live Music Management
  • Performance with Electronics

*The above examples are chosen to represent a selection of the kind of mandatory and elective module options offered, so you can tailor your degree to your area of interest. See the full list of modules currently available for this course, including mandatory and optional modules, plus detailed module specification documents.

In addition to your chosen specialist instrument/voice, you can also choose to have additional 1:1 tuition in a second instrument/voice (for students at Grade 6 standard or higher in their second instrument/voice).

This is not part of your course, but there are a limited number of Instrumental, Vocal & Composition Bursaries available, or tuition can be arranged at additional cost.

Academic Requirements

BA (Hons) - 3 Years

96 UCAS tariff points from level 3 studies or equivalent, which normally include A Level Music or a BTEC Extended Diploma in a Music-related subject.

A minimum of three GCSEs including English Language at Grade C / Grade 4 or above or equivalent international qualification, eg IELTS 6.0 (5.5 in each component).

Performance and Musical Theory Standard

Read our full entry requirements to see more  detail on musical performance and theory standards.

Apply via: UCAS Undergraduate (not Conservatoires)

Read our step-by-step application guide

Applicants will need to audition, interview and/or submit a portfolio of work. 

Exact requirements vary depending on which programme you are applying for.

Find more detailed audition information for applicants.

Leeds Conservatoire does not charge audition fees for any Undergraduate or Postgraduate course.

In many cases, if you prefer to submit your audition online rather than attend in person, this is an option. However, we don't want travel costs to be a barrier to attending in-person auditions at Leeds Conservatoire, so help is available for many applicants where finances are an issue. Eligibility and bursary application information is available on our audition information page.

Visit our Fees and Funding section to find out more about Fees & Funding for International Students.

If you are an international applicant, visit our dedicated International section of the website for information on:

  • How To Apply
  • Auditions
  • International Entry Requirements
  • Fees & Funding

Study Mode: Full Time
Apply via: UCAS Undergraduate (not Conservatoires)
UCAS Institution Code: L30
Validated by: University of Hull*

*Note for applicants and offer holders for 2022/23 entry:

Leeds Conservatoire plans to apply to the Office for Students for Degree Awarding Powers. If we are granted Degree Awarding Powers, your degree may be awarded by Leeds Conservatoire rather than validated by the University of Hull.

BA (Hons) Music (Popular with Production)

Course Type: Undergraduate, Combined Honours
Duration: 3 years
UCAS Course Code: 9Y5T

Course Key Information Document 2021/22

Natalie Holmes (1)

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (combined) 

Year of Graduation: 2014 

 Top Career Highlights: 

  • My first one will probably always be singing with trance band, ‘Above and Beyond’ for their orchestral set around the world. I got to play at venues like Hollywood bowl and The Royal Albert Hall and gig in a completely new genre.
Meet our alumni

Tutor profiles

Jack Harbord.jpg
Dr Jack HarbordAcademic Manager - School of Popular Music and Voice

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Read more
Anna head scarf.jpg
Anna UhuruAcademic Manager - School of Popular Music and Voice

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), MA Music

Read more
Caroline Boaden.jpg
Caroline BoadenSenior Lecturer: Popular Music

Courses taught: 1:1 drum tuition to Specialist Study students in Foundation Year (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Popular)

Read more
“The environment of Leeds Conservatoire personifies what jazz education is about. Collaboration, trying something different and pushing yourself to be the best musician you can be.” – Matthew Richardson, Jazz graduate
Popular Music POD-16.jpg

Performance Opportunities

Students on our Popular pathway play at our regular showcase, ‘Crosswire’, and perform at venues throughout the city, including the Brudenell Socal Club, Belgrave Music hall, Oporto and Nation of Shopkeepers. In addition, many of our students join the Contemporary Pop Choir and other extra-curricular ensembles that the college run.

Recently, students have performed at:

  • Sound City Festival (Liverpool)
  • Eurosonic Festival (Netherlands)
  • The Royal Festival Hall (London)
  • Crosswire (a regular night for Leeds College
    of Music Pop and Production students)
  • BBC One’s Pitch Battle (Winners) – made up of singers from our Contemporary Pop Choir
Find out more

We have over 70 teaching rooms, practice rooms and bespoke ensemble rehearsal spaces, as well as a comprehensive library of instruments, mics and recording equipment, that are all available until late during term-time.

Find out more
Open Days

Find out what it's like to study at Leeds Conservatoire by coming along to one of our Open Days. 

As well as talks and tours specific to the courses you're interested in, you can also chat to our staff and students.

Plus, get immediate access to our On-Demand Open Day.

Open Days
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